3 CrossFit Lessons You Need to Learn

Posted on 25. Jan, 2012 by in Workouts

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you have probably heard of a thing called CrossFit.  CrossFit has exploded in popularity recently and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.  If you have not ever trained at a CrossFit gym, you probably think it’s just some weird place that crazy people work out at.  As a current Crossfit member and fan of CrossFit, I would actually agree with you.  But just because most CrossFitters are a little crazy, doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing in the gym.  In fact, I would say that the typical CrossFit workout is better than 99% of the workouts that are done in your standard LA Fitness.

So what does CrossFit incorporate into their workouts that most people don’t?

A lot.

Here are 3 Things Everyone Can Learn from CrossFit.

1)      You should be training for fitness.

Training to build specific body parts or to burn calories is the wrong way to approach your workouts.  If you really want results, you need to train for fitness.  What is fitness?  Crossfit has several ways of defining fitness but I think the most important definition is excelling at the 10 general physical skills that you see below.

Cardiovascular Endurance










Take a look at your workouts and compare them against these 10 general physical skills.  How many of these skills do you improve on a weekly basis?  If you only work isolation movements on machines then you may only be improving just strength and stamina.  If you only log miles on a treadmill then you are likely only improving cardio endurance, stamina, and leg strength.

Crossfit incorporates all of the 10 physical skills by combining elements of weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, metabolic conditioning, strongman, and other sports.  CrossFit believes that improvements in one area should lead to improvements in all areas.

If you want to dramatically change the way your body looks and performs then you have to demand more from it in every way possible.  Design your weekly workouts in a way where you touch on all of these 10 physical skills, and you should find that all areas of your appearance and fitness improve as a result.


2)      Every workout should be competitive.

Here’s a typical routine that I see in the gym.  4 sets of bench press, 4 sets of cable flys, 4 sets of shoulder press, and 4 sets of tricep push downs.  It’s essentially a to-do list for the gym.  The only problem with this type of workout is unless you magically get stronger each and every time you do it, then it quickly becomes boring and monotonous.

If you want to really get results from your workout routine, then it needs to test you every single day.  You should have a specific goal you are looking to achieve every day before you step foot in the gym.  By setting time, weight, and rep milestones to beat for every single workout, CrossFit has mastered the art of competition.

One example of this is the CrossFit benchmark girls.  These workouts may sound nice and sweet, but they will kick your ass in a very short period of time.  One of my personal favorites is ”Cindy”.   Cindy is a 20 minute workout where you have to complete as many rounds and reps as possible of 5 pull ups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats.  I like Cindy because you can do it anywhere you have a pull up bar or a sturdy tree branch and it is one of the best full-body workouts you can get in just 20 minutes.  Regardless of how good or bad you do with a workout like Cindy, you now have a specific and measurable number to beat the next time you complete it.  This will give purpose to your next workout and make it a lot more fun and competitive.

Make sure every workout that you do has a specific goal in mind.  Before you ever get to the gym, decide how you are going to lift more weight, complete more reps, or decrease the length of your workout from your previous best.


3)      You are capable of way more than you currently think.

When I first walked into CrossFit for the first time just over a year ago, I thought I was pretty good at most things in the gym.  I quickly found out that my endurance sucked, I had terrible form, and there were a lot of exercises that I couldn’t even complete one rep of.

Looking back a year later I can’t believe how far I have come.  Over that time I completed my first muscle-up, double-under, and handstand push up.  I also improved my technique on all of the major Olympic lifts, learned how to climb a rope, and crushed some workouts that had originally crushed me.

Regardless of how old we actually are, most of us think that we’re past the point in our lives where we should be learning new skills and achieving more with our bodies than we ever thought possible.  CrossFit has proven that your current age or activity level has nothing to do with your true potential.  You can always push yourself for one more second, or pick up the bar for one more rep.  When you get in the habit of pushing yourself beyond mental and physical barriers, you eventually find out that there were no barriers in the first place.


While I understand that not everyone can afford to or necessarily wants to join a CrossFit gym, I think there is something to be learned from a program that has positively changed the lives of so many people.  Incorporate some of CrossFit’s principles into your next week of workouts, and you might start looking a lot like those crazy people that you never thought you would become.

For more CrossFit workout ideas, check out the listing of Crossfit Girls.

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3 Responses to “3 CrossFit Lessons You Need to Learn”

  1. Tony McGurk

    11. Jul, 2012

    I’ve been reading through some of your articles. I started Crossfit in my home gym 3 weeks ago for the reason you outlined about the standard workout routine becoming boring & monotonous. I have a set of rings on the way from Ebay & material to build a plyo box this coming weekend. Bought a medicine ball a week ago & now just need a rope & kettle bell & that’s about it.  In the past 6 months of going to a commercial gym I thought I’d gotten pretty fit. I’m almost 52 & my 1st WOD was Cindy & she nearly killed me.  After only 3 weeks I am already seeing improvements in getting through the WOD’s without as many rests.  Crossfit, I’m loving it.

    • LivingSuperhuman

      11. Jul, 2012

      Wow Tony, sounds like you have quite the home gym going there. Would love to see some pics of that gym once its finished. Also, have you taken “before” pics of yourself to show off your transformation?  I got my 55# kettlebell from 
      http://www.fringesport.com/collections/kettlebells, and going to order a 70# from them soon. Keep us updated with your progress. Keep it going!
      ~Tony Frezza

      • Tony McGurk

        12. Jul, 2012

        After 6 months at a commercial gym I was getting sick of the overcrowding & waiting at tiomes for ages to use certain equipment plus staff that didn’t want to know you unless you were paying for their high cost personal training so I cancelled my membership about 3 months ago & decided to buy my own gear. My gym is set up in an unused spare bedroom so I don’t have tons of room but it’s enough to get by with.